This morning’s Wall Street Journal had two ads promoting the availability of the WSJ on electronic readers.
- A 1/6 page ad promoting the (apparently struggling) Reader Daily Edition for the Sony Reader — paid for by Sony.
- A full page ad promoting the Wall Street Journal for iPad — a $4/week ($216/year) — paid for by the WSJ.
What’s going on here? Derek Thompson of The Atlantic thinks the WSJ is cream-skimming with the affluent early adopters of the WSJ:
This is what we in the biz know as cojones. I looked up WSJ subscriptions for Web and print today. It turns out that getting the WSJ on the iPad is more expensive than a subscription to WSJ.com; or WSJ the paper; or WSJ.com and WSJ the paper combined.To me, it seems like a futile attempt to avoid commoditization by yet another news organization (a possibility Thompson also suggests).
I don’t see how the price is tenable in the long haul — it seems like wishful thinking by Rupert Murdoch (who’s been much exorbitant in his pricing than the previous owners.)
The WSJ is creating a great opening for the FT, Thompson Reuters, Bloomberg’s Business Week or Yahoo to create an advertising-supported alternative to the WSJ product. The WSJ has great depth, but by partnering with other sources, it seems straightforward that someone could create something that serves the business news interests of the masses.
Finally, this suggests that the ambiguity about the iPad will be as much about the content business models as the form factor and applications. Fortunes are made in situations of high ambiguity, although right now the iPad content (and application) business seems a bit overcrowded for anyone entrant to make a lot of money.